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Dave Burrell

Distinguished composer-pianist Dave Burrell is a performing artist of singular stature on the international contemporary music scene. His dynamic compositions, with blues and gospel roots recall the tradition of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson and Duke Ellington. After majoring in music at the University of Hawaii, he enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1961. After graduating with degrees in composition/arranging and performance in 1965, he moved to New York City, where he quickly established himself as one of the most innovative and original pianists, collaborating with the emerging leaders in contemporary jazz.

Burrell’s Jazz Opera Windward Passages, written in collaboration with Swedish-born poet/lyricist Monika Larsson, blends opera voices with world class jazz soloists, a 21-piece jazz opera orchestra, dancers and chorus. Seldom has the classically trained voice played such a unique improvising roll as in this important, ground-breaking endeavor. Burrell’s dance drama, Holy Smoke, with blue-print by Monika Larsson, is being developed for modern dance and tap. Burrell’s Suite for Violin and Piano is completed and will be orchestrated for symphony orchestra.

Dave Burrell was recently featured on NPR’s nationally syndicated show Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross. In January, 2006 Burrell performed solo piano at a symposium, The Lomax Legacy: Folklore in a Globalizing Century, presented by American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Washington, D.C.

Dave Burrell appears regularly on national and international TV and radio broadcasts, including NPR’s Centennial Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton, Dr. Jazz, Duke Ellington’s Centennial Duke and the Piano, Louis Armstrong’s The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong, and Leonard Bernstein: An American Life.

Upcoming performances include the Vision Festival, New York City June 13 with Billy Martin, La Vilette in Paris September 7 with The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield, The Legacy Series, Kingston, New York, September 24 solo piano, Akbar Jazz Festival, Istanbul October 4 with Db3, and Bordeaux Jazz Festival, France November 9 with Burrell’s Italian trio presenting his re-arrangement of La Vie de Boheme.

Burrell wrote an original score to Oscar Micheaux’s black and white film Body and Soul (1925). Some of the music will be featured on Burrell’s forthcoming CD, Db3 (High Two Records). Amulet Records new release, Consequences, features Dave Burrell and percussionist Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood). Burrell’s project, Leena Conquest Sings the Songs of Dave Burrell, an original music cabaret by Dave Burrell and lyricist Monika Larsson will be recorded in Italy in September, 2006.

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Concert Schedule

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Mahakala Music


Harlem Rhapsody

Parco Della Musica


Brass And Ivory Tales

Fundacja Sluchaj



Rogue Art


The Crave

NoBusiness Records



From: Momentum
By Dave Burrell



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